The perfect engagement ring is a tiny time machine. It echoes the wearer’s past, represents the person they’ve become, and carries them into the unknown of a shared future. Combining all of that with a desire to delight the eye adds a layer of complexity, as does the sometimes daunting language of precious stones, metals and settings.

As you start your search, keep in mind that the most important thing to consider is lifestyle. How will you be wearing the ring? If you wear gloves for work, a stack of bands will be better than a traditional diamond in a tall setting that sticks up. Are you very active? A ring that has a bezel of metal around the diamond will protect it better than prongs. If you lift weights or work out, plan to remove your rings before going to the gym. Gardening will also shorten the lifespan of your jewelry.

Once you’ve taken your lifestyle into account, personal style comes next. Do you want something classic and simple? Do you love the romance of a vintage ring? Do you want to go off the beaten path with a colored stone or unusual setting? Or do you want something that you won’t see on anyone else? There are no rules these days, so whatever ring makes you happy is the right ring for you.

Zoey Mann, president of Fox’s Seattle, and Justine Nickle, store buyer, share their expertise on four popular categories of engagement rings.

Fox’s Seattle has been has been providing custom and designer jewelry in Seattle since 1912. We offer classic, contemporary and vintage pieces, and are known for unexpected treasures and one-of-a-kind gems.